Currently in theaters – and currently breaking several box-office records – is Avengers: Endgame, the fourth proper Avengers film, sequel to 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, and twenty-second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Nerd Nation Magazine was in attendance opening night, courtesy of Fandango, Cinemark Theaters, and Marvel Studios.
****WARNING – WHILE THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW, IT WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR PREVIOUS MCU FILMS, AS WELL AS *VERY MINOR* SPOILERS OF THE OPENING SCENES – PLEASE READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!****
Picking up around three weeks after the events of Infinity War (which you can read all about HERE, for a spoiler-free recap), Avengers: Endgame continues the story of the surviving Avengers, as they search for a way to find the Mad Titan Thanos (Josh Brolin), who has fled to a remote planet after using all six Infinity Stones in the Infinity Gauntlet. When they discover they are too late, and Thanos has already destroyed the stones, to prevent his actions from being undone, the remaining team retreat back to Earth, and try to rebuild what is left. Fast-Forward to five years later, and Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) has managed to escape from the Quantum Realm, although only five hours has actually passed for him. Unaware of what is going on, Ant Man meets up with Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) at the Avengers HQ. Together, the three seek out Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) where they theorize that they may be able to use the Pym Particles and Quantum Realm to time travel back to before the events of Infinity War to stop Thanos and undo all of the destruction he’s done. Together they assemble the remaining Avengers: including Thor, War Machine, Rocket, Nebula, and Hawkeye, and embark on their quest through time and space.
But of course the biggest problem with time travel is that you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen, and who you’re going to encounter along the way…. or who might be coming back to the present day with you. THIS IS ALL I WILL SAY ABOUT THE PLOT OF THIS FILM, as we are dangerously close to spoiler territory. Suffice to say that from there we are treated to a good few hours of insanely action-packed, pulse-pounding, heart-wrenching, and at times very emotional storytelling, culminating in an ending that is both very concrete and ultimate, as well as leaving plenty of room to expand in the future, beyond the ending of this era of the MCU.
From a technical standpoint, there isn’t much to say beyond what’s already been said dozens of times now. Marvel Studios has developed and perfected a formula of pacing and development, and obviously has the biggest budgets for their enormous filmmaking teams to offer up the absolute best in effects, costuming, equipment, you name it. A reported $356 Million budget should pretty much tell you everything you’d ever need to know about how it all looks.
From a storytelling standpoint, this film is everything it was promised to be, and then some. It serves as both the ultimate culmination of all twenty two films that preceded it, and an epic victory lap for all of Marvel Studios.
Directors Anthony and John Russo really go out of their way to offer as much character development/completion, and as much fan service as they possibly can, giving literally anyone and everyone you can think of a nod in this one.Got a favorite character in the MCU, no matter how obscure? They’ve got your fan service here. Got a desire for big explosions? Big fights? Big action sequences? They’ve got you. Got a favorite canon romance? They’ll get to that for you. Hell, there’s even a few extremely contrived scenes of certain groups of heroes teaming up together purely for the sake of said fan service. Were they gimmicky and sort of shoehorned in? Of course they were, but it was all about those cool moments for fans to enjoy. The film itself even takes time to make fun of itself on occasion for its time travel plot-line, certain characters new looks, and you name it; making it essentially critic-proof.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, Avengers: Endgame is the ultimate culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and as stated above, a serious victory lap for the entire franchise. If there were never another Marvel movie after this (and if you believe that, e-mail me about this cool rainbow bridge I’ve got to sell you) this was a perfect way to tie everything up and end it all here, while still leaving room for the stories to go on for a new generation. It’s absolutely no secret that all of the films from 2008 to now all led up to this one, and fans who have spent the last decade-plus enjoying these movies have plenty to enjoy, plenty to celebrate, and plenty of heartbreaking and emotional moments to endure as we say goodbye to one chapter and await the next one. Do yourself a favor and go see this one in theaters, and please find one with very comfortable seats, because this is a long one. Saying goodbye to an era is never easy, but Marvel sure made it a fun ride! – 9.8/10
Editor/Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine